Another attempt to retake oil ports in Libya's oil crescent fails

(December 7) The Libya Observer claims a coalition of groups including members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), the Islamist Defend Benghazi Brigades (DBB), plus some brigades loyal to the UN-brokered unity government tried to retake the oil crescent ports.

The ports were captured from the Petroleum Facilities Guards, headed by Haftar-opponent Ibrahim Jodhran back in September by the Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Mercenaries were apparently involved. Anearlier counter-attack by the PFG and others on September 19th failed miserably. This one appears to be failing as well.
The Libya Observer claims that the Oil Ports and Fields Liberation Room allegedly associated with the UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA) aimed to "uproot the mercenaries, hired by Dignity Operation to seize the ports" Dignity Operationwas begun by Haftar in May of 2014 to clear Libya of Islamists whom he considered his enemies. This includes many brigades loyal to the GNA. However, the Presidential Council (PC) of the GNA issued a statement claiming that they gave no order for the assault. Apparently, the coalition had early successes capturing the towns of Ben Jawad and Nawfaliya east of Sirte on the way to the oil ports. The Libya Observer says that they pushed the LNA out of Sidra but later they were driven out with the help of airstrikes. It is not clear what they have managed to retain.
Jadallah al-Okli, of the National Oil Corporation, said that the situation in the oil ports was normal and that the industry had not been affected by the ongoing military operations. He said: “We have taken precaution measures in the oil crescent region and oil production is working just as usual.”
The Libyan Observer notes that in a televised interview on Sky News Arabia, General Ahmad Al-Samaray, of the LNA claimed that Al-Qaeda is behind the attack working in colloboration with brigades from Misrata as well as from those loyal to the GNA defense minister Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi. However, as noted earlier the GNA has denied it has any connection to the violence. The Libya Observer points out that the Rana Jawad a BBC reporter among others claim that the general's statements are false.
recent tweet notes: #Libya-Vehicles destroyed in LNA repelling of Oil Crescent offensive carrying signs identifying them as "Ministry of Defense (#GNA)-12 Bde" It would seem that the GNA Ministry of Defense vehicles if not their personnel were involved in the attack. Another tweet also notes: "Claudia Gazzini Yet DefMin logo on cars; commander of ops Idris Musa Bughuetin close to Def Min Barghathi, as is Osama al-Obidi, captured by LNA today." This would appear strong evidence of involvement of the GNA defense minister. However, Libya reporting often involves propagandizing for one side or another. In a brief report, Reuters quotes Mohamed Qabaili a spokesperson for the PFG, said the attacking forces fired rockets as they attempted to move east towards the ports.
Now that the Islamic State has been defeated in Sirte some of the anti-Haftar brigades may soon be involved in attacking Haftar or defending against attacks he makes. The situation is complicated even more by clashes between rival militias in Tripoli. There appears to be no sign of any solution that could bring Haftar and the House of Representatives (HoR) government to accept the GNA and the PC.


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